People in every culture celebrate holidays. Although the word "holiday" literally means "holy day", most American holidays are not religious, but commemorative (i.e. in honor of a person or event).
In the strict sense, there are no national holidays in the United States. Each of the 50 states has its own rules. However, most states observe the federal public holidays, such as Independence Day, Memorial Day (May), Labor Day (September), Columbus Day (October), Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Let's start our review of the holidays with the 4th of July. This day is regarded as the birthday of the United States as a free and independent country. The holiday recalls the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Generally, picnics with patriotic speeches and parades are held all over the United States. The flying of flags, which also takes place on Memorial Day, is common. At dusk, people gather to watch the fireworks display.
The American Thanksgiving holiday dates back to 1620. Actually it celebrates the Indian generosity. The first to celebrate it were the Pilgrims, a group of English settlers who arrived in America in 1620. They gave thanks for having survived their first year in the harsh American wilderness. But there would have been no Thanksgiving had it not been for the Indians. They shared corn with them and showed them where to fish. Later, the Indians gave seed corn to the English settlers and showed them how to plant crops that would grow well in the American soil. The colonists harvested rich crops of corn, barley, beans and pumpkins. They invited the local Indian chief and ninety Indians. They had a feast. Interesting, isn't it?
Well, it's a very, very popular holiday there today. Family members gather at the house of an older relative for a reunion. All give thanks together for the good things that they have. On most tables food eaten at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 has become traditional: turkey, cranberry jelly, white mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie (but with lots of whipped cream. The Indians didn't taste it in 1621, I'm sure).
Halloween, the 31st day of October, is very special for children. They dress in funny or ghostly costumes and knock at doors. After shouting "Trick or Treat!" they are given gifts of candy or money.
1) What other American holidays do you know?
Well, they celebrate Christmas and New Year, of course. Then, there are some federal holidays, as, for example, Abraham Lincoln's Birthday (Febr.), George Washington's birthday or Flag Day (June).
2) Are there religious holidays there?
I think, this is Easter (March-April).
3) When do they celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday?
On the fourth Thursday in November.
It is celebrated on the 31st of October. Pumpkins are a symbol of Halloween. There is a lit candle inside against evil spirits. "Trick or Treat!" - it means "give us a treat, or we will play a trick on you".